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Month: January 2014

You have to make things easy for your readers

At Business Insider’s Ignition 2013 Conference, the media companies in attendance said 50 percent of their core audience’s content consumption came through their mobile apps. That’s proof that people want easy-to-understand answers and solutions right at their fingertips. (The mobile Web isn’t for heavy reading. After all, when’s the last time you read Hamlet on your Smartphone?)

Even people who are reading on a traditional computer screen want to see content that’s easy to digest. Back in 2006, the Nielsen Norman Group did a groundbreaking study on how people read Web pages, and the results are still very relevant today. After tracking hundreds of readers’ eye movements, they found that people scan Web pages quickly, focusing on the top and left portions of the page the most. (That’s why so many successful Web writers break things down into lists and short paragraphs – because it fits in with this reading pattern.)

No matter what device people use to read your Web content in 2014, you’ve got to keep it concise and conversational. Take all of those fancy words you learned for the SATs and forget about them. Your readers want quick answers and solutions; they don’t want to marvel at your extensive vocabulary.

Effective Instagram Marketing

Each time you log on to Instagram, make sure you are doing these three things to maintain a high level of efficiency to grow your brand presence:

Add to the number of people you follow

Give yourself about 10 to 15 minutes each day to start looking for Instagram users in your target market. You can do this by looking at who is following your competitors. Find people who actively follow brands —these are the people who will be most apt to actively follow you. Are they leaving comments and liking photos often?

Since social media is all about give and take, make sure you are following a good number of other people, businesses and bloggers. Do your own fair share of liking and commenting as well.

Share your own content

Take 10 minutes a day to add new unique content to your own Instagram account. People want to see that you have a healthy amount of interesting content for them to look at if they are going to follow you. If they look at your stream and only see two pictures and nothing new added in the last month or more, they aren’t going to see a reason to become a follower.

If you don’t have any unique content to share, set up a time each day to simply focus on taking pictures to share. It can be shots of your products, your office, employees, etc. If it relates to your brand and business, take an interesting shot of it, edit it to your liking and share.

Be interactive

It’s no surprise that when you have a social media account, people expect you to be, well, social. Don’t simply sign up for an account and then wait for people to start following you.

To be successful with Instagram marketing, you need to actively engage followers. Reply to comments left on your images, even if it’s a simple thank you. Ask questions and encourage a dialog with your followers.

Visit your followers’ streams and those of the people that you are following and like images and leave comments. Showing that you will be interactive with other users will go a long way in building your own brand’s following.

Instagram will be around for a long time. To be the most effective, you need to be ready to spend time with your account and be productive with that time.

Do not be ignorant about public opinion

Financial behemoth JPMorgan launched a social media campaign this year called “#AskJPM”. A seemingly innocent and engaging idea, the premise was simple: Incite Twitter users to ask their hard-hitting financial questions to JPMorgan professionals.

Here’s where they went wrong – they forgot to consider the public view and opinion of banking institutions overall, and the inevitable snarky comments from the angered masses. In other words, they were asking for trouble, and they found it. Because the industry had already generated so much frustration and blame, creating a hashtag to direct public questions only fanned the flames, and created a direct portal for venting. A little forward thinking would have prevented this debacle all together. Instead, it was (and still is) an embarrassment for the company, with many negative #AskJPM comments and questions posted for all to see.

How we can learn from this: If you’re in an unpopular industry, or if you’re doing damage control with your audience, be very careful about the feedback you elicit. Never be ignorant about your reputation online and elsewhere, and communicate your campaigns with a clear purpose and awareness.

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